Making sure the athletes stay healthy is part of the FISU World University Games, and an ‘all star’ team of medical professionals from UVM health network are helping out. Dr. Katie Dolbec is an emergency medicine physician at UVM medical center; but right now, she’s on call for the FISU games, and it’s not the first time she’s worked with athletes.

“I work closely with the chief medical officer for this event, Tracy Viola, in the Lake Placid Ironman every summer,” Dolbec said. “So, she had roped me in a little over a year ago and said I’m looking for a group of people I know and trust to help me with this really big project and it was a really exciting opportunity.”

Dolbec is in Queensbury, New York as part of the athlete village near Gore Mountain, where freestyle skiing and snowboarding events are taking place. She discussed what the most interesting part of the experience is so far. “Being able to talk to different people from different countries about how our medical system differs from theirs and just helping them navigate that, we’ve had athletes from Europe, for example, who are sort of astounded that we can get an MRI, that we can get a same day reading, that we can look at the images real time,” said Dolbec.

Meineke Mahar is a registered nurse practitioner at UVM medical, she was also stationed in Queensbury. She joined after Dr. Dolbec put a call for more volunteers, but said she also had some personal motivation. “My daughter is an Olympian, and I kind of wanted to see what happened in the background and what she has available to her and what happens during the Olympic games,” she said. “So I was kind of nosy, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to check things out.”

Her daughter is Illona Maher, a Burlington High School graduate who competed in the Tokyo Olympics on the U.S. women’s rugby team. “It was really cool to see how everything was set up and how much time and effort goes into just the medical portion of one of these events,” Maher said.

Nicole Killian and CJ Corddry are also part of the UVM team helping out with the games. Maher and Dolbec said anyone who is able to should volunteer for an event like this for the experience, getting to talk to people from around the world, and said it was eye-opening to get to experience an event like this so close to home.